By Alex Schadenberg
LifeCanada, a national educational pro-life group, commissioned a poll through the Environics Research Group on Canadian attitudes towards euthanasia. The poll was part of the Environics Research Group Omnibus survey that asks questions to 2000 participants from across Canada.
The poll found that:
* 66% of Canadians want the government to place a greater priority on improved access to palliative care. What was important about this result is that a majority of people in every region or political affiliation wanted the Provincial and Federal governments to place a greater priority on access to palliative care.
* 76% of Canadians expressed concern that elderly persons in abusive situations would be pressured to consent to euthanasia. The Canadian government has made elder abuse prevention a national priority. The poll found that Canadians are concerned about elder abuse and that they recognize that people who are experiencing elder abuse are vulnerable to being pressured into consenting to euthanasia, if it were legal. It is interesting to note that Conservatives were more likely to be concerned about elder abuse than other political affiliations.
* 74% of Canadians are concerned that, if legal, people with disabilities, people who are sick or elderly would be euthanized without consent.
* 82% of Canadians oppose the legalization of euthanasia, when the person does not give their consent. Politicians should take notice, especially since the Netherlands is now openly supporting euthanasia for people with dementia and they have allowed euthanasia on children born with disabilities, under the Groningen Protocol. It is also important to note that a study published in May 2010, on the practice of euthanasia in Belgium found that 32% of all euthanasia deaths were without explicit request or consent.
It is interesting that in Quebec, where the government established a commission to examine the issue of euthanasia, the poll found that:
* 67% want the government to place a greater priority on improved access to palliative care.
* 76% were concerned the elderly persons in abusive situations would be pressured to consent to euthanasia.
* 74% were concerned that, if legal, people with disabilities, or people who are sick or elderly would be euthanized without consent.
* 79% oppose the legalization of euthanasia, when the person does not give their consent.
Canadians are concerned, that if euthanasia is legalized, vulnerable Canadians, such as those experiencing elder abuse and people with disabilities will be pressured to consent or euthanized without consent.
Editor’s note. Alex Schadenberg is executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition. This appeared on his blog at http://alexschadenberg.blogspot.com/2011/11/canadians-want-good-end-of-life-care.html